Friday, April 13, 2012

FSO Historic places

"A historic building or statue perhaps? Find something that tells a story from your town's history. Tell us a little about it. "

New Zealand is a young country, being the last large landmass (and it's not all that large) to be discovered by explorers - first by Maori (around 700 years ago) and then by Europeans.  It was a while between when Abel Tasman sailed past in 1642 and the first European settlers arrived. 

The First Wesleyan Mission in New Zealand was built in 1827, when residents of New York could already attend the ballet (Deserter) and the free spirits in New Orleans were planning their first Mardi Gras.  That mission burned down and a second mission station was established in a different location, at Mangungu, and a house built  in 1838-39 for the head of the Methodist Mission in NZ.  In 1840 this mission was the venue for 70 Maori chiefs  to add their assent to the Treaty of Waitangi (a treaty between the British Crown and various Maori chiefs, bringing NZ into the British Empire) before a crowd of between 2,000 and 3,00o people - obviously the north was not as sparsely populated as it is today.  And no-one was counting.  More chiefs signed at Mangungu than at any other place in New Zealand.  We celebrate Waitangi Day on 6 February when the first signing took place at Waitangi.   On the other side of the world, Queen Victoria married on 10 February in Chapel Royal in St James' Palace, London and back here the Mangungu signing  took place on 12th. 
Following the Northern War (1845-46) Maori lost interest in missionary work and the house was transported by boat to Auckland where it became a Methodist parsonage for nearly 70 years (during which time a chimney and upper rooms were added).  It was then sold and used as a private dwelling until the Hokianga Historical Society purchased it in 1968 and returned it to Mangungu and placed it close to what was thought to be its original location.   A drawing by the ten year old daughter of John Hobbs (who acted as interpreter at the treaty signing) shows the house and other buildings on a flat area below where it now sits. Recent archaeological monitoring of a cable trench dug at Mangungu Mission has confirmed the accuracy of the drawing, as well as some assumptions about the missionary village.  

A more recently added church sits below the mission house with its harbour view.

The mission hell which was retrieved from a ship that was wrecked at the river mouth in 1832.

I wonder what men find interesting about historic buildings?  Probably not what I did.   The books which I did not dare touch for fear they would fall to pieces.  (There was probably a sign telling me not to anyway but I tend to not notice them.)

The furnishings.  (I'd love to get my hands on that!)

The art:

To see what the rest of the Friday Shoot Out team have found on this topic, just pop over here.  I have to admit this historic place is not on my doorstep - but I could be there in a few hours. 

(For some reason my Preview button is not working, so I hope this isn't all over the place.) 


  1. Interesting history and the fact about moving the house by sea. I've seen documentaries on moving buildings across state line in America, not an easy feat!

  2. Do your family have a big bible? I was surprised to see many Kiwi homes with a very big bible 4 inches thick.

    When you come down with the grands, after you have played at Motat, we can have a picnic at Western Springs.

    My email. should be at my profile.

  3. This is great. Love the old books too! I enjoyed reading the history. :). I did not know there was someone named Abel Tasman,, but I am assuming that's who Tasmania was named for. Interesting!

  4. is that tatoo on his face, facinating. to move a house and then back again and it staying in one piece is interesting. good post Pauline.

  5. I have seen and know of many houses moved in the area where I live. It is an interesting but tedious affair. Your photos are great. I love the sweeping landscapes. A country I would love to visit.

  6. Moving the house the first time must have been a horrendous job. Is there a shortage of wood in New Zealand? I can totally understand by the historical society wanted to move it back though.

  7. What an interesting post and wonderful photos. I enjoyed this very much. Hope you have a great weekend. Mildred/Maple Lane

  8. That was SO interesting. New Zealand and British Columbia are around the same 'age' and this weekend I'm in one of the youngest areas, at the edge of Vancouver Island. It's easy to get hooked on the raw splendour - the sense of adventure and 'don't care' attitude in a place that's as youn as this.

  9. Obviously I know these dates but for some unfathonable reason I've never related them to more personal factors until this post. In particular my maternal grandmother was born less than 50 years after the Treaty of Waitangi and I was born around 100 years later than the Treaty. Makes you realise just how young a country this is.

  10. Love the history - I may put February 6 on my calendar to celebrate. It is good to have lots of days with reasons to celebrate. Old hard to keep from looking inside. And it is interesting to see how old the art of tatooing is! What a powerful looking man!

  11. You're being very sexist in The Paddock, today, Pauline. :-)

    "I wonder what men find interesting about historic buildings? Probably not what I did." If your photos are anything to go by our tastes would be pretty similar. I love the books and like you, I'd be dying to get my hands on them and have a look.


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